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Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  8,733 ratings  ·  310 reviews
One moment Joseph Schwartzis a happily retired tailor in Chicago, 1949. The next he's a helpless stranger on Earth during the heyday of the first Galactic Empire.

Earth, as he soon learns, is a backwater, just a pebble in the sky, despised by all the other 200 million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it's the original home of man. And Earth is poor, wi
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Tor Books (first published 1950)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sesana
Greatly entertaining, though that's no surprise. After a somewhat slow start, it turns wonderfully tense. Although this is the most cartoonish villain I've encountered in an Asimov book, the rest of the characters have the same "realness" that I've come to expect from his casts. Even though the Galactic Empire books don't really relate to each other on a plot or character level, it's been interesting to watch the Empire develop from one book to the next. I don't know yet how it will relate to th ...more
Tadiana
Isaac Asimov's first published novel is rough around the edges and shows its 1940s roots with the outdated science and social attitudes (other than the love interest, who is occasionally awesome but too often of the hand-wringing variety, and a cameo appearance by a farmer's wife, no women grace the pages of this book), but there are also parts where you see what made Asimov such a great SF writer.

Joseph Schwartz, a retired Jewish tailor, is instantly transported from 1949 Brooklyn to a time ma
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Manny
He steps through a wormhole in space and ends up in a future world where he has exotic Super Powers -

Like what, I hear you ask? Right, listen to this. He can obtain a deadly attack as White from the variation of the Spanish which starts 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Nc3. Impressive, huh?

I know. Alekhine showed it was possible a couple of times. And then there was the game Spassky won against Beliavsky in 1988. If you can play through that and not conclude that Boris had Super Power
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Michael Battaglia
Don't you just hate those days when you're walking down the street just minding your own business and then suddenly poof! you're in another time completely? That's how Joseph Schwartz's day starts, and it more or less goes downhill from there. Before too long he's volunteered for a scientific experiment because everyone assumes he's mentally damaged (due to nobody being able to understand a word he's saying, and vice versa, thanks to a several thousand year language gap) and that, hey, it can't ...more
Travis Knight
I’m going to begin this review with a generalization: every fan of science fiction should read at least one Isaac Asimov book in their life. Whether or not they enjoy it in the end is superfluous; it is the tax one pays to the (arguably) first patriarch of the genre as a concrete entity. Pebble in the Sky, the book on my docket today, was Mr. Asimov’s first novel, though it had been published serially between January and June of 1933. I came upon the book years ago, after binging on the Foundati ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2000.

In 1949 when he was writing his first novel, Isaac Asimov had already had some success with published short stories. Pebble in the Sky shows both experience as a writer and inexperience in the longer form, as it tends to jump around rather too much for a continuous narrative to emerge. The style is basically fully developed, and (in his fictional writing) did not change a great deal over the next forty years.

In terms of the rest of Asimov's fi
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Sakacaca
El ultimo libro del Galactic Empire novels. Muy parecido en disfrute a sus predecesores... supuestamente me los leí alberrez... el primero de ultimo, pero la verdad esto no afecta en nada ya que las historias no están relacionadas, se hace alusión a algunos planetas pero nada mas... por ejemplo Trantor. Asimov es simplemente brillante, las historias son tan creativas, que es rajado pensar que fueron escritas hace tanto tiempo. El mae hasta profético es en algunos tech gadgets y no me extrañaría ...more
Kellyann
my favorite type of sci-fi! time travel comparing pre-present day to the far future. In this future, Earth is the embarrassment of the galaxy, backward with outdated traditions and customs and a deep distrust of the rest of "mankind", who more than returns the sentiment. Lots of talk about radiation (written prior to our full understanding of radioactive weapons) and centered on one poor guy who accidentally slips through time because of it. A really fantastic book. Asimov's reputation is well-e ...more
Justin Rees
This was my first Issac Asimov novel, and it made me an instant fan. Any man who can think of a story like a simple tailor being lifted into the future over a crack in the sidewalk, and actually make it substanial and brilliant, is a genius in my books. A must read for all science fiction lovers as this is where it all begins...
Chaitanya krishnan
One of my all time favourites by Asimov. Have re-read it several times over the years. one of the central plots of the old, elderly being thrown aside like they don't matter, left deep impact on my mind when i read it as a school student. It also has one of the most creative+accidental modes of time travel i've seen in scifi so far.
Gary
I first read this book in 7th grade. It was my first science fiction book, and it hooked me. I think it is the reason I’m always looking for “fish out of water books. Asimov did a great job in placing a late 1940’s Chicago tailor into a world that was so different as to be unrecognizable to the main character.
Mary Anne
Apparently this is in a series, Galactic Empire, and is the third in the series. Funny, since this is the first fiction book he wrote/published. Then again, I might be wrong, and even if I'm not, he was pretty amazing at writing things out of order.

This is the second time I've read this book, and I was stunned to find it in the audio book section of our library. It's been years since I've read anything by Asimov, which is a sad thing, because I think he's quite wonderful. It sort of shows that t
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Melanie
This would make such a boring movie. No explosions. No evil alien attacks. Not even a whole lot of fighting. The climactic duel is fought first with mind control and then with words. So yeah. Boring movie, but fun book. This was Asimov's first published novel. His author voice must be very strong, because as I was listening to this book, I remembered two other books by him that I had read and completely forgotten. He was a very smart man. And I was so happy that he measures the galaxy in volumes ...more
Jared Millet
(2013 Asimov Re-Read, book 2)

So when I decided to revisit Asimov this year, my battle plan was to do the original Foundation Trilogy interspersed with the three Galactic Empire novels in the order of publication. I enjoyed Foundation as much as I did back in high school, but I remembered having a hard time with Pebble in the Sky. I'd hoped that I'd appreciate it more coming to it as an adult, but while it has plenty of interesting ideas, they don't quite fit together as a novel. This was Asimov
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Ricky Luz
The first Asimov's novel that I actually read from cover to cover. (this was 2 months ago). Brilliant, well done and fascinating. At every page my heart was jumping out of my mouth, for not knowing what was reserved for poor Schwartz! It was like I was with him at all times, but that's what a book is supposed to do I guess! So top 5 stars for this little book.

I also liked the linguistic suggestions that English was a very ancient language and that Schwartz was the only man to be able to speak i
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Norm Davis
Feb 24, 2012 Norm Davis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Golden Age Science Fiction fans
Pebble in the Sky, even though it was written first is the actually the third Empire novel by Isaac Asimov. The 8th book in the “recommended” reading if you're reading the combination of the Robot, Empire, and Foundation novels that Asimov eventually combined. In Pebble in the Sky you're immediately exposed to time travel that is thankfully only vaguely implied to how it occurs. There's no real transporter in Star Trek either... easy enough to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a story that see ...more
Michael Nash
I’ve been pretty negative about Asimov’s Galactic Empire Series, and Pebble in the Sky is no different. The Foundation Series is great because it uses a structural view of history to deconstruct Space Opera, whereas the Galactic Empire is just Space Opera. Pebble had a lot of flaws: For a guy famous for “hard” science fiction, a lot of magic appears here, from an atomic particle somehow causing time travel to the same man gaining psychic powers from a device unironically called “the synapsifi ...more
Richard
The first time I attempted to read this book I was about 4 years too young to get what the heck it was about, so I never made it past the first few pages. I had the Bantam edition, circa 1964, and it sat on my top shelf for some years while I admired the cover and occasionally cracked it open. Eventually I grew old enough, then read it when I was about 14. In the end, this is a pleasant little sci-fi classic.
Simona Bartolotta
"Un giorno, ancora una volta, i terrestri sarebbero stati un popolo fra i popoli, gli abitanti di un pianeta fra i pianeti, e avrebbero guardato in faccia gli altri esseri umani con dignità e senso d'uguaglianza."

Era tanto tempo che non leggevo un Asimov come questo Paria dei cieli, per me senza dubbio il miglior episodio del Ciclo dell'Impero. E' semplice, lineare e puro come l'acqua gelata; rapido, cangiante e vivace come la stessa acqua che scende giù a torrentelli sul dorso di una montagna.
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Tfitoby
Bringing the Empire sequence to a close is probably the most enjoyable of the three books.

I'm not sure if it actually was written on a chapter by chapter adventure serial basis but Asimov takes the concept and runs with it for full enjoyable effect. Each chapter filled with intrigue and entertainment ending at what could almost certainly be described as a cliffhanger. I imagined waiting the fortnight or month until the next issue would have been quite frustrating but incredibly rewarding.

An espi
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LaSibila
Es increible que esta obra esté escrita en 1950. Nuestro planeta es apenas un "guijarro en el cielo", uno entre 200 mil que se conocen, contaminado por la radioactividad y casi abandonado. Sus habitantes sobreviven entre la pobreza y las leyes de exterminio que aniquila a los humanos al cumplir los 60 años. Por un evento fortuito, un hombre de nuestra era viaja a este futuro devastador y se transforma en un involuntario partícipe de un experimento científico, mientras que un antropólogo está det ...more
Jonah
This read seemed to flow better, to me, than I, Robot but much of the dialogue seemed more awkward and forced. The sci-fi element was decent but not as impressive as I was hoping. Good read, good sci-fi but I won't need to read it again.
Carl V.
“To the rest of the Galaxy, if they are aware of us at all, Earth is but a pebble in the sky. To us it is home, and all the home we know.”

Sixty-two year old Joseph Schwartz, a retired tailor, is walking down the streets of Chicago in 1949 when, with a single step, he finds himself transported in time to a far distant future in which Earth is no longer recognizable. When he stumbles upon a local farmhouse he discovers that the people who answer the door are speaking a language that he does not un
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Claire
I picked up Pebble in the Sky simply because on the blurb, in bold letters it said "in his next breathe Joseph Swartz stepped through time". The story begins in the 60s then quickly jumps to a time far in the future where the galaxy is inhibited by billions of people and Earth is segregated due to it's radioactive nature (making an interesting parallel to the atomic bomb making). There's a lot of push and pull between Earthmen and Galaxy men, two races who do not get along. Like, really really d ...more
Claudiu
Isaac Asimov may never be remembered by posterity as a very forward thinking man. While the story takes place in the far, far future, the story itself feels very much as the product of the age that has produced it.
That doesn't mean it's bad, God forbid, but it is peculiar in some way.
I don't have much to say on this as it's not raised much feeling out of me. It's readable, terribly enjoyable and Asimov shows, even from this great work, a talent for writing fantastically readable prose. It is c
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Andréa Oliveira de Carvalho e Silva
In order to enjoy one book of this amazing writer, you need to keep in mind that it is and old book, and some of the scientific basis in which it was constructed are obsolete. This book has a simple language, it is easy to read and is a really enjoyable science fiction for anytime. It has some action going on, some moral issues (Asimov seems to like polemic stuff) and some nice, sweet, science. Worth reading.
Antonio
Con esta novela pongo final a la 'Trilogía del Imperio Galáctico' y coloco una pieza más en la inmensa obra de Asimov relacionada con la saga de la Fundación. Al igual que en las dos novelas anteriores, en este último libro me queda nuevamente un sabor agridulce por, precisamente, los motivos contrarios.

Antes de nada, cabe decir algo sobre el argumento de esta historia. Resumiendo mucho, por el azar del destino, Schwartz (un simple sastre cercano a los 60 años) viaja miles de años hacia el futur
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Mark Oppenlander
And with this book, The Asimov Project begins . . .

Joseph Schwartz is a retired tailor in the city of Chicago, circa 1949. An accident at a scientific research facility in the city opens up a rift in the space-time continuum and sends Schwartz forward in time thousands and thousands of years. It takes him a while to figure out that he is still on Earth, but it is an Earth very different from the one he left. Most of the surface area of the planet is contaminated by radiation and the population
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Lokathor
This book is solid if you're the kind of person that love Asimov writing. After you read enough Asimov it becomes kinda weird that all his future societies always end up being wildly prejudiced. This time the people of earth are not only prejudiced, but also there's a planet-wide secret police! yay! No more like Fuuuuu. Man, I don't know what we keep doing to end up with secret police and prejudice and totalitarianism in the future, but maybe we should not do that thing.

As with most novels set i
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Melanie
I noticed this book on my shelf the other day and decided to reread it (only I had to buy the kindle edition because I can no longer read physical books). I think I must have originally read this when I was in high school, back in the dark ages. It has held up remarkably well. The book is still entertaining. The characters are interesting, the plot believable (even if a little outdated scientifically). It reminds me of why I started reading science fiction in the first place.Although it is bille ...more
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Incorrect Series order 2 53 Sep 10, 2008 04:21PM  
  • The Sands of Mars
  • Starman Jones
  • Isaac Asimov's Caliban (Isaac Asimov's Caliban, #1)
  • Foundation's Triumph (Second Foundation Trilogy, #3)
  • Slan (Slan, #1)
  • Guardians of Time
  • What Mad Universe
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
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More about Isaac Asimov...

Other Books in the Series

Galactic Empire (3 books)
  • The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire, #1)
  • The Currents of Space (Galactic Empire, #2)
Foundation (Foundation, #1) I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2) Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, #1-3)

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“Any planet is 'Earth' to those that live on it.” 1808 likes
“They won't listen. Do you know why? Because they have certain fixed notions about the past. Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes, even if it were the truth. They don't want the truth; they want their traditions.” 169 likes
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